The Southeastern Conference announced the week 3 slate of Players of the Week Awards, and two Kentucky Wildcats appeared on the list. Defensive back Derrick Baity was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week, and kicker Austin MacGinnis was named Special Teams Player of the Week.
Baity led the Wildcat defense on Saturday with eight tackles, which was huge considering the absence of linebacker Jordan Jones. While his presence was felt throughout the game, Baity had three huge plays that kept Kentucky in control throughout the game.
When South Carolina had the ball at mid-field in the middle of the 3rd quarter, Baity hit Gamecock running back A.J. Turner behind the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-1 to cause an important change of possession that led to a Kentucky field goal. He later stuck running back Rico Dowdle on 4th-and-goal from the one yard line in the fourth quarter. Keep in mind that he was making these plays from the corner back position.
After such a dominant performance, it was fitting that Baity came down with an interception to put the game on ice with 2:15 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Austin MacGinnis earned his award through consistency, which has been his M.O. throughout his career in Lexington. He made all three of his field goal attempts (from 27, 44, and 21 yards) and both of his point after attempts.
MacGinnis’ last field goal extended the lead to 10 points, making it a two possession game with 4:15 left on the clock.
These two played key roles in Kentucky’s win on Saturday in Columbia, so their selections were of no surprise. However, it was odd to see the full list of Players of the Week. There were three selections from Mississippi State, two from Kentucky, and one from each Florida and Vanderbilt.
I know it is just week 3, but it looks like we may be in the midst of a large momentum shift in the SEC.